JEMB Realty Scores $235M Loan for Brooklyn Office Project

JLL Capital Markets arranged construction financing for the 34-story high-rise located in the borough’s downtown area. The tower already has two anchor tenants.
One Willoughby Square

One Willoughby Square, an approximately 500,000-square-foot office project located at 420 Albee Square in downtown Brooklyn, N.Y., just got a big financial boost. JEMB Realty Corp., developer of the 34-story high-rise, has secured a $235 million construction loan through Montréal-based Otéra Capital.

JLL Capital Markets, the capital solutions arm of commercial real estate services firm JLL, arranged the 4-year, floating rate loan, which also provides JEMB with an option to extend the financing for an additional year. “One Willoughby Square was an exceptional lending opportunity given the project’s top-tier sponsorship, location and leasing velocity,” Aaron Appel, vice chairman of JLL Capital Markets, told Commercial Property Executive.

One Willoughby Square has already attracted two anchor tenants. The New York School Construction Authority pre-leased 87,000 square feet on six floors of the building for a 300-seat school. Additionally, architectural firm FXCollaborative, which designed the office tower, committed to 40,000 square feet. JEMB is also currently in talks with other businesses interested in claiming space at the premier property.

“This project is well-positioned to capture the momentum of the growing tech, advertising, media and information sector in Brooklyn,” Appel added. Appel was joined in the orchestration of the financing by JLL colleagues Keith Kurland, managing director, and Aaron Niedermayer, executive vice president. David Sitt and Eliott Zetioune, both vice presidents with the firm, completed the team.

One Willoughby Square is slated for delivery in the first quarter of 2021. The building is set to hold the distinction of being the first ground-up office development to sprout up in downtown Brooklyn since the area was rezoned in 2004, according to a year-end 2015 report by JLL.

Not your father’s Brooklyn

The downtown Brooklyn office market has been undergoing a major evolution over the last few years. In the aforementioned JLL report, the firm noted that an increase in project scale and diversity signaled a dramatic transformation of the borough. Two-and-a-half years later, change is still underway in the market.

“The next 24 months will bring upwards of 6.4 million square feet of new office product to the Brooklyn and Long Island City markets. This represents a never-before-seen opportunity for two areas that have historically been considered value options compared to the economic engine that is Manhattan,” per a first quarter 2018 report by JLL. New developments include Dock 72, a 675,000-square-foot creative office project that has risen in the heart of the 300-acre Brooklyn Navy Yard. And in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, 25 Kent, an approximately 480,000-square-foot property, is offering a unique mix of office accommodations and light industrial space.